WonderCon After Hours
21. A few parties have become annual traditions at WonderCon. The biggest, as usual, was the Saturday-night bash at Isotope, the comics store/lounge whose walls, as seen here, are festooned with toilet seats featuring original drawings by dozens of famous cartoonists. (If you ask nicely, they’ll show you the Warren Ellis/Darick Robertson two-seater that’s effectively Transmetropolitan #71.)
22. Saturday night was also local comics store Comix Experience’s 21st birthday party, a benefit for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund that featured a legendary local taco truck parked out front and serving attendees.
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23. The coolest con-only item of merchandise was Darwyn Cooke’s The Man with the Getaway Face, a magazine-sized, two-dollar, 24-page adaptation of Richard Stark’s Parker novel. (It’ll be reprinted as the prologue to the adaptation of The Outfit that IDW is publishing in October.) When Cooke announced that he’d be showing up at Isotope’s party in a Mountie outfit, people thought he was kidding. He wasn’t. He looked dashing.
24. IDW also had a couple of other nifty con exclusives, including a preview of their forthcoming G.I. Joe miniseries Hearts & Minds, written by novelist Max Brooks and drawn by Howard Chaykin.
25. Their biggest announcement, though, was that they’ll be publishing a six-issue True Blood miniseries, co-plotted by series creator Alan Ball; David Tischman is one of the comic’s writers (and previously worked on the not-entirely-dissimilar Vertigo series Bite Club). The first issue apparently involves an evil entity that starts picking off the patrons in Merlotte’s Bar, which sounds a bit like one of those early Neil Gaiman Sandman stories.
26. If you were to extrapolate the next year of nerd culture from what people were wearing on the show floor, you’d conclude that the steampunk look is about to break very, very big. Now is the time to invest in pince-nez manufacturers.
27. Since Marvel was largely absent from this show (their presence was limited to a couple of panels, including one featuring editor Axel Alonso), the big comics buzz belonged by default to DC’s forthcoming “Brightest Day” event. The “Brightest Day” panel was packed to capacity (although that might have had a lot to do with the Doctor Who screening immediately following it in the same room). And the only currently Marvel-associated creators on the “special guests” list were Frank Cho and Adam Kubert.
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28. The general tone of WonderCon right now is very much like what Comic-Con International was like a decade or so ago in a lot of ways; the same company runs both, and they’re doing their best to associate the two conventions. (The backdrop in the ballroom alternated the WonderCon logo with the Comic-Con logo.)
29. There was an advance screening of the first episode of Doctor Who with Matt Smith as the Doctor. Unfortunately, it was held not in the ballroom but in the largest room otherwise devoted to comics panels–and Doctor Who is very popular with this crowd. The line was cut off hours before it began.
30. The most significant line WonderCon attendees saw, though, wasn’t for any movie or TV screening: it was at the Apple store a few blocks away, where people were waiting to buy their iPads (on which the Marvel Comics app promptly became a best-seller). Everyone in the industries represented by WonderCon knows that things are about to change; the question is how much, and how quickly.
(More on Techland: Hands-on With the Apple iPad: Eight Hours Later)